Thirty-two year old Latreshia Gowdy was allegedly fatally stabbed during a brawl with another woman over her ex-husband. Natafre Green, 30, was found in her car shot multiple times. Diamond Williams, 16, was found dead in her West Baltimore neighborhood with her throat gashed.
These three cases are among 24 so far this year in Baltimore that represent what authorities are calling a disturbing trend—women who are killed in street violence. Women have also been identified as the perpetrators in several recent killings, just as disturbing a trend, officials said.
In a city struggling with high crime, Baltimore police said the number of violent crimes involving women has dramatically increased in recent years. During a June news conference, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts sought to explain that Baltimore is not the only city experiencing the trend.
“Women are increasingly becoming victims of shootings both in Baltimore and across America,” he said.
Dr. Tim Akers, an expert on criminology at Morgan State University, said women are “fighting back more” when it comes to dealing with conflict. For so long, he said, women were taught to be quiet and demure. As women have shrugged off traditional roles and labels, they are responding to violence much the same way men have traditionally done, he said.
According to police, Gowdy went to the 4400 block of Fairview Ave. in Northwest Baltimore on the afternoon of Oct. 20 to pick up her 3-year-old son from her ex-husband. Gowdy saw her ex-husband, whose name was not released, sitting on a step with his new girlfriend, Gabrielle Smith, 30.
Police said witnesses told them Gowdy became upset by something Smith said and brandished a beer bottle at Smith in what police called a “threatening manner.” The two women began fighting and Smith allegedly ended the brawl when she took out a knife or other sharp object and stabbed Gowdy in the left arm and abdomen. Gowdy was pronounced dead at Sinai Hospital.
A day earlier, on Oct. 19, in the 300 block of S. Franklintown Rd. in Southwest Baltimore, Natafre Green, 30, was found unresponsive in her car suffering from several multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at an area hospital a short time later.
On June 27, the last words witnesses said they heard Tierra Fallin scream to a group of women before they became victims of a triple shooting were very clear.
“I’m going to f- up this whole block and this b- is going to be the first!”
Seconds later, bullets flew on the front porch of a row house on Elmora Ave. in East Baltimore. The gunmen who allegedly fired the shots allegedly had been enlisted by Fallin, authorities said. The barrage claimed the life of Gennie Shird, 21 and left Cierra Williams, 24 and Michelle Hitchens, 51, seriously injured.
Hitchens later died.
The dispute on the porch on Elmora Avenue resulted, Akers said, from the perpetrator not knowing “when to walk away”—the same syndrome that leads to violent confrontations frequently among young men, especially in urban settings.
All too often there is no conflict resolution because among some women there is a sense of feeling “punked” if they walk away, experts said.
Many of the cases involve situations where the women weren’t participating in violence. Diamond was at home with her brother when she received a phone call that upset her. She left to go meet a young man she had dated, police said. They believe he slashed her throat before killing himself on a local basketball court as several horrified youths watched.
Other women killed so far this year include: Michelle Adrian, 17; Melissa Davis, 44; Rockelle Harper, 27; Jennifer Conyers, 32; Candace Hurt-Baird, 33; Alysia Strickland, 33; Shantese Evans, 26; Rachael Curtis, 31; Tyreka Martin, 20; Kishawna Pinder, 20; Tanya Raymond, 42; Kendra Diggs, 37; Yolanda Johnson, 24; Donyae Jones, 18; Joyce Alston, 49; Karolina Derezinska-Szkiluk, 38; Natasha Bates, 40; and Meghan Kerrigan, 22; Lakeisha Vannison, 24.